POSTED: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 8:10pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 10:42pm
The New Mexico State women's basketball team led 52-51 with 3:34 remaining against New Mexico but the Lobos used free throws to come back and edge the Aggies 54-53 in the first game of the Rio Grande Rivalry inside The Pit Sunday afternoon.
After trailing by as much as 15 in the second half, senior forward Kelsie Rozendaal made 1-of-2 at the line to tie the game at 53-53 with 1:37 left. But two late NM State fouls provided the Lobos opportunities at the free throw line that the home team capitalized on inside the final minute.
Senior forward Tabytha Wampler led the Aggies with 11 points in just 15 minutes of play limited by foul trouble. Senior guard Kaitlyn Soto matched her season high with 10 points. Junior guard Camila Rosen played a team-high 34 minutes for NM State going 4-of-4 from the field for a season-high eight points while swiping away seven steals.
NM State shot 48.8 percent (21-43) from the floor and held the Lobos to 44.4 percent (20-45). Both squads made five 3-point baskets. The Aggies out-rebounded UNM 24-19 but turned the ball over 21 times while the Lobos made 18 errors. The NM State bench scored 30 points led by Rosen's eight tallies.
"I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight," said head coach Mark Trakh. "I'm really proud of how we handled the loud crowd tonight in a rivalry game and we put ourselves in a position to win. I thought Kaitlyn Soto and Tabytha Wampler played well for us and Camila Rosen was great defensively for us tonight."
The Lobos led the whole first half as UNM started the game on a 10-0 run over the first seven minutes of the game. Wampler left the game early in the half after two quick whistles on the defensive end. Dré' Chenier broke the Aggie scoring drought at the 12:39 mark with a 3-point basket.
Chenier's trey started a 10-2 run by the Aggies. A bucket by senior Erica Sanchez cut the UNM lead to seven. Freshman guard Simone Ruedin rattled off five quick points in the span of 20 seconds after a free throw make and two quick layups as a result of the Aggies' full-court defensive pressure on the Lobos in the backcourt. Ruedin's rally closed the Aggies to within two, 12-10 midway through the half.
UNM kept the Aggies at bay with a 7-2 run to increase the lead to 19-12 with 7:35 left in the half. Another short UNM rally forced an NM State timeout by Trakh with just over three minutes left to play as New Mexico matched its largest lead of the game, up 27-17.
The pause in the game worked in the Aggies' favor as NM State outscored UNM 7-0 in the final three minutes of the half to close the Lobo margin to three, 27-24.
NM State won the battle of the boards in the first 20 minutes, 14-8, including a dozen on the defensive end. The Aggies committed 13 first-half turnovers while forcing eight UNM miscues. The Aggies shot 52.6 percent (10-19) from the field compared to 47.8 percent (11-23) for the Lobos. NM State's bench did much of the scoring damage in the half accounting for 17 of the Aggies' 27 points in the half.
The Lobo offense awoke early in the second half, outscoring the Aggies 12-2 before the first media timeout at the 15:42 mark. UNM stretched its lead to 15 with just under 16 minutes remaining, up 41-26.
Six straight points by Soto and Rosen cut the Lobo advantage to single-digits, 41-32, at the 13:48 mark.
Wampler then led an Aggie comeback scoring six points during an 8-0 run over a two-minute span to cut the Lobo lead to five, 45-40, with 9:30 remaining.
NM State took its first lead of the game at 49-48 after a jumper from Sanchez at the 6:14 mark. The bucket was part of a 12-0 run by the Aggies that ended at the final media timeout of the game and Wampler fouling out of the game. NM State maintained the lead until the 2:40 mark but could not overtake the Lobos down the stretch.
Lobo guard Lauren Taylor led UNM with 13 points including a pair of threes. Forward Jourdan Erskine added 11 with a team-high five boards and Porche Torrance posted 10 points.
NM State concludes its three-game road swing at Boise State on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. inside Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.